Russian Teacakes {best ever}

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Russian Teacakes by WickedGoodKitchen.com #glutenfree #Christmas #cookie #recipeFond Christmas Baking Memories: Russian Teacakes ~ The Best Ever

Although it is January, and Christmas is now but a memory, I simply could not resist posting my favorite Christmas cookie which is forever tied to fond memories of baking with my Grandma Gigi for the Christmas holiday, Russian Teacakes.

Distinctly, I remember the first Christmas when I was finally old enough to help my grandmother bake cookies for Christmas. It involved staying overnight for the weekend during the second week in December and my recollection of these precious years when I baked with her was purely magical.

Russian Teacakes by WickedGoodKitchen.com #glutenfree #Christmas #cookie #recipe

Together, we baked all day through the weekend and turned out batch after batch of Butterplätzchen (Rolled German Butter Cookie Cutouts) cut into animal shapes and sprinkled with colorful “Jimmies” to hang on the Christmas tree. We also baked Russian Teacakes, Pecan Crescents, Jam Thumbprint Cookies, Butter Pecan Icebox Cookies, Spritz Cookies using her old-fashioned cookie press and Gingerbread Cookies as well as German Sour Cream Coffeecake with the most spectacular buttery brown sugar nut streusel known to man. I swear, no other streusel compares!

Russian Teacakes by WickedGoodKitchen.com #glutenfree #Christmas #cookie #recipe

Grandma Gigi also baked a nut torte (a boozy, nutty layer cake) and a special kuchen (cake) which was actually a bar cookie consisting of a rich shortbread crust, strawberry or raspberry jam filling and unique meringue topping. And, I had the privilege (read: important duty) of helping my grandmother soak her fruitcake by drizzling it with rum. She had always baked the cake in October, but she would explain that the cake had to “cure”, “age” or “ripen”. I was fascinated by this and can still remember the enchanted scents of spices, sugared fruits and rum from that mysterious cake tin tucked away into a low cupboard in her kitchen.

Russian Teacakes by WickedGoodKitchen.com #glutenfree #Christmas #cookie #recipe

My Grandma Gigi talked with pride when telling us the history of the recipes she handed down to my sister and I. Some came from my Papa’s mother and some from my grandmother’s mother. She explained that the recipes from her side of the family came from a professional baker who baked for royalty “in the old country” as she would say. Of course, there is no way of knowing this for sure. It all sounds so fantastical. However, most of the recipes handed down in our family have never been found in print, cookbooks or magazines. And, believe me, we have looked!

Russian Teacakes by WickedGoodKitchen.com #glutenfree #Christmas #cookie #recipe

This traditional German-Hungarian recipe for Russian Teacakes was handed down from my Great-Grandmother Mitzi and I am proud to share my gluten free version as well—which is quite stupendous, if I do say so myself. When The Big Lug sampled these scrumptious cookies, he could not believe that they were my gluten free version. That is saying a lot because he is quite the cookie connoisseur!

Russian Teacakes by WickedGoodKitchen.com #glutenfree #Christmas #cookie #recipe

Just what is it about Russian Teacakes that make them so special? I have pondered this quite often over the years whenever I bake them. Are they special because they are delectable buttery, nutty, round shortbread cookies? Or, do we love them so because they are covered in confectioners’ sugar and remind us of snowballs and playing in the snow as children? Or, is it the nostalgia attached to the experiences in baking with a beloved family member, like a grandmother or special aunt? For me, it is all of the above.

However, I must say that the taste and experience of munching on these special shortbread cookies dusted in sugar, like a Pixie Elf’s Fairy Dust, is intrinsically tied to the memory of baking with my Grandma Gigi and all the anticipation, excitement and childhood wonder of the coming Christmas holiday. Each time I munch on a Russian Teacake, I am reminded of my Grandma Gigi and her beautiful Christmas tree covered in Butterplätzchen and how they were shared with the mailman, the paper boy or anyone who came to the door in late December. My mother carried on a similar tradition as each person who came to our door was treated with a candy cane from our family Christmas tree.

Russian Teacakes by WickedGoodKitchen.com #glutenfree #Christmas #cookie #recipe

What makes our Russian Teacakes wicked good? First, our recipe calls for all butter and granulated sugar which is superior to recipes using confectioners’ sugar which contains cornstarch thus making the shortbread cookie too dry. (Ever cough from those cookies due to those dry, crumbly cookies dusted in sugar when the “dust” goes down your wind pipe?) Using all butter and granulated sugar, with ample pure vanilla extract, ensures an especially buttery and tasty Russian Teacake.

Second, our recipe calls for walnuts which are not as dry as pecans can be. In addition, our recipe calls for 2 entire cups of finely chopped walnuts—not a mere ¾ cup of nuts like most recipes such as the one found in the iconic Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book. Finally, the size of the teacakes, the oven temperature and bake time ensures a superior Russian Teacake. We hope that our recipe becomes a new Christmas tradition for your family.

Here’s to special childhood Christmas memories, family traditions and spectacular Russian Teacakes!

xo,

spatsign

Russian Teacakes {best ever}

Yield: Makes about 7 dozen cookies.

Russian Teacakes {best ever}

What makes our Russian Teacakes wicked good? First, our recipe calls for all butter and granulated sugar which ensures an especially buttery and tasty Russian Teacake. Second, our recipe calls for walnuts which are not as dry as pecans can be. In addition, our recipe calls for 2 entire cups of finely chopped walnuts—not a mere ¾ cup of nuts like most recipes such as the one found in the iconic Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book. Finally, the size of the teacakes, the oven temperature and bake time ensures a superior Russian Teacake. We hope that our recipe becomes a new Christmas tradition for your family!

Ingredients

  • Gluten Free Flour Blend for Teacake Cookies
  • ½ cup (64 grams) millet flour or sorghum flour, or blend of both
  • 6 tablespoons (48 grams) arrowroot starch
  • 6 tablespoons (48 grams) tapioca flour
  • 5 tablespoons (50 grams) sweet white rice flour
  • 4 tablespoons (28 grams) almond meal/flour
  • 1½ tablespoons (15 grams) potato starch
  • 1½ teaspoons xanthan gum
  • or
  • Flour for Traditional Teacake Cookies
  • 2 cups (250 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened slightly
  • 5 tablespoons organic granulated cane sugar, or granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups (230 grams) finely chopped walnuts
  • 1½ cups confectioners’ sugar, for dusting cookies twice

Directions

To Prepare the Gluten Free Flour Blend for Teacake Cookies: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flours, starches and xanthan gum; set aside.

Using an electric stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, or handheld electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar. Beat in the vanilla and salt. Gradually add flour or gluten free flour blend; beating after each addition. Stir in the nuts; mix until fully incorporated. Divide dough in half and refrigerate in plastic wrap for approximately 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, position rack in middle of oven and preheat to 350ºF. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Place confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl; set aside. Measure dough using a small, 1-inch spring-loaded scoop making sure each scoopful is level. Roll dough between palms of hands to achieve a small rounded ball.

Place dough balls 1½ inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake in preheated oven until the cookies are just beginning to brown, about 12 to 14 minutes. Do not overbake. The underside of the cookies should be only lightly browned. And, the cookies should not crack—a sure sign of overbaked teacake cookies.

Cool cookies on baking sheets on wire racks for approximately 2 minutes. Remove cookies from baking sheets using a metal cookie spatula. While cookies are still warm, gently roll them in the confectioners’ sugar. Place the sugar-coated cookies on wire racks to cool completely. Roll cookies once again in the confectioners’ sugar. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature. Cookies will keep up to 4 weeks.

Recipe Notes

Tips

The dough balls will seem very small, but don’t worry. The cookies puff while they bake. These cookies freeze especially well.

To freeze, place in an airtight container separating the layers with sheets of wax paper. To freshen frozen cookies, roll them or dust them with additional confectioners’ sugar after thawing.

Recipe Source: WickedGoodKitchen.com

Copyright © Wicked Good Kitchen. All content and images are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words. Alternatively, link back to this post for the recipe.

http://wickedgoodkitchen.com/russian-teacakes-aka-snowballs-gluten-free/

About Stacy

Stacy Bryce is a recipe developer and member of the IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals). Her passion is developing original conventional baking recipes as well as special diet recipes to include dairy-free, gluten-free and grain-free. You can follow Stacy at Pinterest.

Comments

  1. My mom used to make these for us when we were little… they were not GF, but they were amazing. I can’t believe you GF-ized these! 🙂

    • Thanks, Kate! They really are one of the very best Christmas cookies, aren’t they? I’m glad to hear you love them, too. They’re so addicting! You must try them GF…you cannot even tell! Scrumptious…I promise. xoxo

  2. I need/must/want to know where you found that amazing santa set!! I have a few of the vintage santa mugs but have never seen a matching pitcher, it is sooo adorable!!! I love all of your classic german recipes!

    • Hahaha! Jennifer, LOVE the ‘Raphie Parker’ sound of desperation in your plea to know just where I found my amazing (I agree with you!) Santa mug set! OK, the secret is out. I ordered it last year for Christmas, but didn’t order it straight from the Elves at the North Pole. 😉 However, I do have good news to share…the set is STILL available. (Yay!) Here is the info: Tinsel Town Vintage Santa Ceramic Pitcher and Cups Set of 5 in Gift Box by One Hundred 80 Degrees. I purchased my set at the wonderful world of Amazon.com. Although I provided a link that immediately came up in the Search, do look for the best priced set from the most trusted seller. Thanks for dropping by, making me smile and commenting positively on my blog. Merry Christmas! ~Stacy

  3. I am excited to make these cookies. However, your recipe does not state how many cookies one batch makes. Please provide me with this information ASAP as I would like to make these for my Christmas cookie plates. Thank you!

    • Thank you for writing, Charissa. The recipe does indeed state the quantity of cookies yielded. It is at the very top at the left of the image and states: “Makes about 7 dozen cookies.” Of course, the amount yielded depends on how large or small you make the dough balls. I use a very small cookie scoop and provide that information in the recipe. Thanks for stopping by and happy baking!

  4. Joanne Heidkamp says:

    The flour based version has been a Christmas favorite for three generations in my family. I made these using King Arthur Flour Gluten Free Baking Mix. I brought them to the office holiday party so that several colleagues with dietary restrictions would feel included — they ended up having to take these away from the gluten eaters, who discovered them and were devouring them indiscriminately. Based on family tradition, I used brown sugar in place of the confectioner’s sugar in the cookies, and also added 1.5 cups of chocolate chips. These cookies need to be rolled firmly, and then chilled before baking so they hold their shape. After baking I gently sift powdered sugar over them so that it melts on to the cookie. These freeze well. When they come out of the freezer it’s nice to freshen them up with another sifting of powdered sugar.

    • Thank you for dropping by, Joanne! I appreciate the positive feedback you have shared with me and my readers. I’m so glad everyone enjoyed the coolies…even the gluten eaters who were devouring them indiscriminately! 😉 Thanks again for stopping by. Happy holidays!

  5. I loved these when I was a kid, I have such fond memories of making them with my mom and eating them all holiday season. Oh course, Stacy, you come through with an amazing GF recipe that is exactly as I remember them, sweet but not too sweet, nutty, crumbly, and they leave a tell-tale trail of “snow” wherever they are eaten. Thanks for another stellar recipe! Happy Holidays!

    • Thanks you for writing, S! I’m so glad you love these cookies as much as I do. They are a family favorite. Guess what I’ll be baking tomorrow? Along with my Rugelach recipe, too, of course! And, you’re right…the “snow” is a tell-tale giveaway to anyone snatching and nibbling these cookies. 😉 Just visited your blog. Yes. Life definitely gets in the way of blogging! (I’m so glad to be back blogging after a terrible illness. In fact, I am still healing.) I, too, learned to never promise a post. I started a Drop Cookies 101 tutorial in the spring of 2013 and got hung up on researching the safety of silicone baking sheets and parchment paper coated with it. In the end, people will do what they think is best. So, I need to complete that post and shoot some drop cookies! Thanks for stopping by. Happy holidays to you and yours, my friend!

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  1. […] Russian Teacakes The combination of butter, granulated sugar & walnuts (not as dry as pecans) create a beautifully moist, sweet & nutty tea cake that’s perfect for an afternoon treat! recipe @ wickedgoodkitchen […]

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